Look her up in the catalog of the and you'll see multiple titles by local author Cynthia Blair, who writes under the name Cynthia Baxter.
But it will only be a small piece of the work she's actually had published in her prolific career. The 20-year Three Village resident recently published her 54th novel, The Housesitter, a psychological thriller about a woman who takes a housesitting job – and soon begins to feel watched herself.
A past writer for Newsday and the Times Beacon Record newspapers, Blair specializes in mysteries, suspense, and general fiction. Among her work is the "Reigning Cats and Dogs" series, about a veterinarian who finds herself with mysteries to solve. She's even done the paranormal teen romance thing, more than a decade before the Twilight saga came out: the Dark Moon Legacy trilogy, about a girl who falls for a werewolf.
"I’ve been lucky enough to be a novelist for most of my life. ...It never stops being exciting, seeing your name in print," she said.
Blair said she has never taken a writing class in her life, and while she has always loved writing, she studied economics at Bryn Mawr College and completed an MBA at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
"I didn’t think it made sense to pursue [writing]," she said. "I was kind of practical and didn’t think it was something I should pursue as a career … ironically, because it did become my career."
Among her influences are Margaret Drabble, Margaret Atwood, Kurt Vonnegut and Susan Isaacs. Long Island is an influence, too: most of her work is set in places based on real ones, including Old Field, the Hamptons, the North Fork, and the Gold Coast.
For the aspiring authors out there, Blair offers this piece of advice: take note of the techniques used by authors that you like.
"The way they describe things, the way they use language. Pay attention and pick up pointers that way," she said. "There’s no secret to writing. It’s right out there to see how other people do it. All you have to do is somehow absorb it and make it your own."
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